Just a few thoughts on Sangha that came to mind as of late, hope you do not mind!
Now in besides being the third jewel (though not in any order of importance as all three are one and each the other), we usually see sangha as a group of like-minded practitioners of the way supporting each other in practice. Of course there is more to that than meets the eye.
In taking refuge in the sangha we work together to support each other, accept each other as we are. In doing so we often liken it to rock tumbler… we do not always agree, nor do we always get along perfectly. That brings me to the whole point of sangha, we learn at first to accept and support each other, and grind off some of our rigid points to allow room for others perspective open-mindedness(read: play nice despite our differences).
Taking refuge in the Sangha does not mean we stay in the cosy warm safety of like minded folks of course, this means we learn from each other to have an open mind and extend our understanding to allow room for other views. If we can accept the few (or sometimes many… depending on the time and space) differences we find in our sangha, then we must also turn that understanding and open mindedness to the wide world, to the sangha of our family, friends, neighbors, and our work place, birds, trees, rocks, and the myriad of things that support us that go unnoticed. The sangha that cannot exclude anyone that includes our less preferable persons in our lives (noting of course we give those that cause us harm wide berth and learn from their teachings from a safe distance).
Like the fish caught Myozan's attention, provided inspiration for his wonderful talk and great way to liken sangha, that fish jumping into the stream ventured beyond its safety.
We must also venture to jump clear of the water once in awhile to realize that the river, the air, the rocks, the entire universe, are nothing more than this precious sangha.
All this to say that right now, I want to put forward my unending gratitude to all of you (in the ten directions too) for your support, your teachings, and your encouragement. In my times of greatest need you all have shown me the way (weather you know it or not) and given me the support and understanding needed to take turn this around to the wider sangha.
Countless deep bows to you all.